yoga teacher trainingBy Sangeetha Saran

Will Hatha Yoga teacher training courses prepare instructors for working with obese populations? Can Hatha Yoga teachers make an impact on a less physically active society? Can the Yoga diet help people avoid obesity?  Among many other things, Yoga teachers should understand the Yogic diet.

At this time, people move around less than our grandparents did. More technology means less movement as we sit at computers for an occupation. Yoga movement alone cannot make up for sitting still all day. Below is part one of a two part series, which takes a closer look at our eating habits.

Each food category plays an integral role in a healthy weight loss program. Aside from these categories, Yoga uses three traditional categories that are aligned with a corresponding state of consciousness. Sattvic foods are pure, good foods and support a spiritual state. Examples are foods which are cooked with minimum amount of spices or seasonings and are fresh.

Rajasic foods are stimulating foods and support only an intermediate state. Examples are fried, sweet, highly seasoned, or baked foods. Alcoholic, artificially flavored, and processed beverages are also Rajasic. Tamasic foods are overripe or impure and support a gross, undeveloped state. Examples are foods that are prepared with excess spices, salts, and hot seasonings.

Outside of Yogic thought, food is classified and divided into protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates or “carbs” are essential in order to keep your body functioning well. Carbohydrates are the direct precursors to glucose – a form of sugar. Glucose is what fuels both muscle tissue and the brain. Many foods, such as dairy, contain fats, protein and carbohydrates.

This category is very important because a Yogi diet is mainly a non-animal diet, consisting of fruit, vegetables, nuts and bread made of whole wheat. Carbohydrates foods fall into the sattvic or pure food category. These are a basic staple of the Yogi’s diet and examples are fruit, vegetables and grains. It is most important that these foods be enjoyed closest to their pure state. This means that food should be uncooked if at all possible, as cooking destroys vitamins and enzymes. Salt should be avoided and both fresh and dried herbs should be used to flavor food. In this way, the healthy natural flavor of food can be enjoyed.

An optimum Yoga diet encourages eating whole wheat bread and uncooked whole wheat every day. Uncooked wheat is superior to whole wheat bread in supplying enzymes and vitamin B. This vitamin is known to help combat the symptoms and causes of stress, depression, and cardiovascular disease. Natural carbohydrate sources are potatoes, lentils and nutritional yeast. These foods also supply roughage to aid the movement of food in the intestines and colon. Bread is also rich in B-complex vitamins and in the minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron.

© Copyright 2011 – Sangeetha Saran / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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